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Chavez battling respiratory infection

Dec. 19, 2012 at 7:19 AM
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CARACAS, Venezuela, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is in stable condition after doctors brought a respiratory infection under control, the country's information minister said.

In televised remarks, Venezuelan Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said Chavez, undergoing cancer treatment in Cuba, was diagnosed with the infection Monday, CNN reported.

Chavez underwent surgery a week ago in Cuba. He first announced he had cancer in 2011, but has not revealed the type. Despite his cancer, Chavez ran and won re-election.

Physicians said the infection "is one of the results that most often is seen in patients that have undergone complicated surgeries," Villegas said Tuesday.

"The medical team reports that President Chavez must keep resting in the coming days and receive the most rigorous prescribed medical treatment, with the purpose of maintaining the stability of his vital functions, which he currently enjoys," he said.

Villegas intimated Chavez might not return to Venezuela for his inauguration Jan. 10. The minister said Venezuelans "should be prepared to understand" if Chavez does not come back before the inauguration.

"It would be irresponsible to hide the delicacy of the current moment and the coming days," he said in a post on the Information Ministry's website.

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